Press Release – Netball New Zealand
The Malawi Queens netball team have touched down in Wellington ahead of Thursday nights’ opening test match against the Silver Ferns, for their inaugural tour of New Zealand.
The familiar effervescence we’ve come to expect from visiting African sporting sides was apparent as they walked through Wellington airport on the second leg of their international tour which also includes visits to Australia and Fiji.
Malawi last played in New Zealand during the popular FAST5 Netball World Series last November, finishing in fifth spot. However the traditional seven aside form of the game is a little different and Malawi are expected to put up firm resistance against the Silver Ferns, who have named a strong team.
The tour will be especially interesting for new EasiYo Tactix signing Mwai Kumwenda as she prepares to adjust to the New Zealand way of life ahead of the 2014 ANZ Championship season. Kumwenda has spent the past three years playing in Australia, so will have a few adjustments to make when she makes Christchurch her new home in the New Year.
The two teams have met on three previous occasions, at two Commonwealth Games and one World Championships, so the tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji is an important step for the continuing development of netball in the African nation. Ranked fifth in the world, Malawi are certainly no easy-beats.
Only a few months ago Malawi made it into the final of the African Championships, pipped at the final whistle by South Africa in extra time, after the match was tied 44-44 after 60 minutes.
The team travel to Napier on Friday after the opening test match for the second contest at Pettigrew Green Arena on Sunday before moving on to Hamilton for the final test match at Claudelands Arena.